The Witch’s March: History Fact #3

The Lebel Model 1886 M93 model was the main French sniper rifle used during WW1. Pictured is the rifle fited with an original A.P.X. 1916 scope, as used by Maréchal Beachêne in The Witch’s March.

The elfish have evolved with the times, no longer just  legendary for their skill with bow and arrow, but also the rifle.  His rivals have claimed it’s due to his enhanced sight, but that doesn’t mean they can’t argue the simple fact: Beachêne is the best of the best.

Chapter 33: Mastering the Gray Area

So often, stories follow a simple formula: good versus evil, us versus them, heroes versus villains. It follows the same rule that most author choices do: it doesn’t matter what you write, but how you write it. Quality writing comes from bold writing, but everything has to be written with an air of caution. If you’re going to give a character a noble trait, make sure to note it as noble. Likewise, if you’re going to give a character an evil trait, make sure to note it as evil.

With that said, most people in the world aren‘t a 0 or a 10, or even a 1 or 9. Writing gray characters are what make shows like Game of Thrones (except Season 8, but I don’t want to go down that road right now) and Umbrella Academy so successful.

A common route to take with gray characters is their confliction when making decisions. That doesn’t have to be true. They can just as easily be an antagonist who feel justified in their actions for sympathetic reasons. Or a hero who will sacrifice the few to save the many. To get to know the character better, think of those gut-wrenching questions like the trolley dilemma. Don’t be afraid to pull from their backstory (and they really should have one if your thought there was “what backstory?” to waver their decision in a different direction than the rest of their personality my convey.

There are generally two main categories of gray area characters. The lovable villain and the anti-hero. The lovable villain: who we know is bad but forgive them do to a few redeemable qualities. Think of characters like Loki or Darth Vader. Then, the anti-hero: who has no intention of being good but has some moralistic code that makes him/her rise to the occasion. Captain Jack Sparrow or Dexter Morgan.

I’ve always noticed two particular patterns when writing gray: characters that start together in the middle of the spectrum commonly end up in 2 opposing sides by the end; and, if characters seemingly start out one side of the spectrum at the beginning, they are pulled to the center by the thought.

If I had to sum up out to create the perfect gray area character, I would ask yourself these six questions:

  1. What is their overall goal?

  2. If higher on the scale, what is one thing that would make them cross the line?

  3. If lower on the scale, where do they draw the line?

  4. What is one thing unexpected about them?

  5. What is their background?

  6. Do they have any emotional wounds?

Chapter 32: 7 Website Made by Authors for Authors

When I first started writing this blog, I did it to document my story as an author. As my journey continued, I also became filled with the desire to help other writers. Once I made the decision to become an indie author and self publish, I had to do research on the business end of things. With my degree in Finance and background in the business world, I kind of thought I even had a head start. Other authors also have valuable insights to give, and I want to make sure you all know where to go. Other than my own (yes, this is also shameless plug), here are my ## best websites made by authors for authors:

  1. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/ by Joanna Penn / J.F. Penn

    Penn’s website includes over 1,000 articles and over 230 hours of free audio and video. I found her website through her podcast, The Creative Penn (once you’re done with the website, I highlight recommend it.

  2. https://writershelpingwriters.net/ by Writers Helping Writers

    This website comes with a myriad of talented and experiences writers. One of which, Becca Puglisi, who is the author of books I’ve suggested in the past such as The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma and The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.

  3. https://goinswriter.com/blog/ by Jeff Goins

    Goins has a website that’s primarily focused on writing tips themselves rather than the publishing side of things.

  4. https://www.makealivingwriting.com/ by Carol Tice

    Tice is a free-lance writer writing for free-lance writers. She even has a free customized report that she can email you based on your writing “tenure”.

  5. http://laurensapala.com/ by Lauren Sapala

    Sapala’s blog also likes to focus on the creative side of writing. Her website is best for new writers.

  6. https://www.thebookdesigner.com/ by Joel Friedlander

    Friedlander has articles about book design, book reviews, podcasts, publishing timeline, self-publishing, social media, and more.

  7. http://avajae.blogspot.com/ by Ava Jae

    Jae is author of the Beyond the Red trilogy and also has a vlog.

Winter Is Here

For the next six Sundays, I will be unavailable starting at 7:00pm.  The show doesn’t air until 9:00, you say?  Yes, I know, but I need emotional time to prepare for each airing.  THE NIGHT KING IS THROUGH THE WALL AND EVERYBODY IS GOING TO DIE!!!

Not my most traditional Thursday post… but I’m too excited to write anything else!

Superhuman Disaster by Kristen Brand

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A hero awakens.

Retired superhero David Del Toro has just woken from a coma—or at least, that’s what the black-market doctor watching over him in an off-the-grid safehouse says. The doctor can’t tell him what happened, but that’s alright. Dave figures he can just ask his family. Except they’re nowhere to be found, their phone numbers are all disconnected, and when he goes home, he finds a hole the size of an elephant smashed into the front of the house and nothing inside.

A villain returns.

Frantic to find his family, Dave calls on all the contacts he made over his superhero career. He learns that his wife has apparently gone back to being a supervillain, and his former sidekick has become a rogue vigilante. Something rotten is going on in the DSA, the law enforcement agency that handles superhuman crime. What does it have to do with Dave’s family? And with such a late start, still suffering the aftereffects of the coma, does Dave have any hope of stopping it?

 

What the perfect end to an amazing series!  Let me start off by saying that for those of you who haven’t started this 5-book adventure, the first, Hero Status, is only 99 cents on Amazon!   It’s a phenomenal superhero series that you can read the ENTIRE series for only $12.95!!  That’s five quality books  for the price of one from the book store.  For those of you that have had the amazing chance to read The White Knight and Black Valentine series, let’s get started with my review…

I’m going to be very careful to not spoil anything so I’m going to start with this question: Do you know all of those amazing minor characters laced throughout the books that you’ve been waiting for their “HELL YEAH” moment?  For me in particular, I think a note on every book I gave to Kristen was “can I please see more bad assery from Elisa and Julio?”  I knew they were bad asses; they knew they were bad asses; Kristen knew they were bad asses; but, it wasn’t yet their moment.  Well, folks, their moments finally happened, and I could not be happier with the results!  Without creating a Mary Sue, Elisa is an insanely strong vigilante in the making – and you can bet I’ll be nudging Kristen in the direction of her getting at the very least a solo book in the future because she’s just too great of a character to pass up.  Also, leave a comment below if you think Elisa what ‘super’ route she’ll take in the future: superhero, supervillain, or vigilante?  Now also feels like a great time to bring up how amazing of a villainous comedic relief Eddy was, popping in to sprinkle some evil humor along the way.  I would write a novel myself if I went into all the fun character moments, but they include great moments from some of my favorite characters like Freezefire, Blue Sparrw, Agent Lagarde, and Moreen.

In addition to amazing character development and their powerful moments, the plot was filled with incredible action.  The fighting scenes are so well-written and have the added bonus that we get to see more fights from different powers, adding in different fun tidbits we haven’t had a chance to see yet.  Fun new villains fights include an evil sentient mist and beefed up No-Men, but I should leave a few surprises.  Really, this book wrapped up Dave and Val’s stories beautifully, but definitely left the world still in need of some superheroes.

Did I also forget to mention we finally have the answer to how Dr. Sweet has stayed alive?

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For those of you craving more of Dave and Val, you can buy The Best Man: A Superhero Short Story to read about their wedding for just 99 cents on Amazon or read a longer version of the prequel for FREE on her website here!